programs are equally critical to economic growth and the safety and security of our nation. these discretionary programs are not the reason for our growing debt, and so far they have been the only place lawmakers have been willing to cut, by $1.5 trillion to date. non-defense programs alone have been cut by $900 billion, bringing spending on his programs to levels not seen since eisenhower was president. as we saw from the white house memo on friday, and as you hear from our panel today, cuts in discretionary programs alone not only will not balance the budget, they will cripple our ability to grow our economy, and provide an apartment where all americans have the opportunity to live healthy, safe, and productive lives. that is what brings us together here today, because sequestration is about more than numbers on the ledger. they are real people behind these numbers. these cuts have consequences, and every american will pay the price. with your food inspectors, which will be more susceptible to food-borne illnesses, greater risk of disease outbreaks, with fewer air-traffic controllers, flights will be curtailed, classroom size will increase as teachers are laid off, national parks will close, and we will be less safe with fewer police on the street and we will wait longer to care for debilitating diseases like cancer and alzheimer's.